July 11, 2015

Reddit’s new CEO Steve Huffman: We will reconsider all our policies’

Reddit’s new CEO Steve Huffman: We will reconsider all our policies’

Reddit’s new CEO isn’t wasting any time trying to make amends with the site’s users.

Just one day into his tenure, and one day after embattled interim CEO Ellen Pao
stepped down,
Steve Huffman answered questions on Reddit in an effort to re-establish a relationship with the community.” During the
AMA
(Ask Me Anything) session Saturday, the first of what Huffman said would be many, he explained that Reddit will reconsider all our policies from first
principles.”

But the Reddit cofounder was quick to add that some recent unpopular decisions — such as the firing of popular communications director
Victoria Taylor
and banning of certain offensive subreddits — would not likely change. When asked point-blank if Taylor would be returning, Huffman said he stood by the decision to let her go:“No. I know she was well-loved by many moderators, and I’m very sorry at how everything played out. It could have been handled much better.

However, she was let go for specific reasons, which I obviously will not share, and we will stand by that decision.

What we will absolutely do is make sure we have dedicate[d] people internally to help manage the relationships between moderators and guests on reddit.
I’m still getting to know everyone here, and I expect this will be an ongoing conversation between you all and I.” The sudden dismissal of Taylor, who worked with volunteer moderators of many subreddits — including AMA, where she helped organize Q&A sessions with celebrities
and other high-profile guests —
caused outrage
among Reddit’s moderators, many of whom temporarily shut down their subreddits in protest.Huffman also revealed his plans to create a more transparent content policy, although he said he does not support communities that encourage bullying and
harassment. Pao previously came under fire from Reddit users for
banning communities
that promoted hate speech, such as r/fatpeoplehate; this resulted in backlash from users who saw the move as an infringement on freedom of speech.

During his AMA, Huffman repeatedly acknowledged the importance of both keeping Reddit open, while ensuring the community could be a place where our users
feel safe.”

Here’s his answer to a question about whether Reddit will bring back the banned subreddits:“Unlikely. Creating a clear content policy is another of my immediate priorities. We will make it very clear what is and is not acceptable behavior on reddit.
This is still a work in progress, but our thinking is along these lines:

•Nothing illegal

•Nothing that undermines the integrity of reddit

•Nothing that causes other individuals harm or to fear for their well-being

In my opinion, FPH crossed a line in that it was specifically hostile towards other redditors. Harassment and bullying [a]ffect people dramatically in
the real world, and we want reddit to be a place where our users feel safe, or at least don’t feel threatened.

Disclaimer: this is still a work in progress, but I think you can see where my thinking is heading.

Update: I mention this below, but it’s worth repeating. We want to keep reddit as open as possible, and when we have to ban something, I want it to be
In response to another question on the topic, which referred to a particular
racist subreddit,
Huffman said banning content will be a last resort: I want to be very clear: I don’t want to ever ban content.” The newly minted CEO also touched on Reddit’s
future plans
and the difficulties of dealing with
pressure from a board
that increasingly expects the popular website to generate revenue.

Of course the board wants to see growth,” Huffman said. I want to see growth, too. We’re not going to see much growth without serious product efforts,
and we’re not going to get serious product efforts without more resources. Fortunately, I have the ability to get those resources, so that’s what I’ll
do.”

Read the AMA in its entirety,
here.


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